The laundry woman didn’t come. I had to dig in and wash my own dirty linens. It is not a problem, only a challenge to stop being lazy, if only for one weekend. The washing machine looks simple enough to operate- that is when the kids are at it, but not for me; I always seem to press the wrong buttons. The user manual is in Chinese and a smattering of nay-say mangled English that seems to have been transcribed straight out of the unintelligible original cantonese or mandarin or some other cryptic language.

The Little boys- I had tutored and mentored them on Pro-Active aptitude- impressed me today. They’d worked the machine and done their own washing, since the power holders have been kind or forgotten to take back the light at dawn today. The boys, somehow, got a inkling that Iya Sheyi, the washer woman, wouldn’t be showing up to do the washing today. I should have known that she might not come this Saturday as she’d been missed last Saturday, and the one before that. She’d collected her over-due pay for February on the first week of March. And that was it. No plausible reason have been given for her AWOL.

I had wasted precious time calling Iya Sheyi trying to find out what might be the matter with her. Whenever the line connected and she took the call, she never seemed to hear me, but I was hearing her loud and clear, as loud and as clear as the warbling network allowed. I had aimed to pacify and cajole her to report for duty ASAP. I had no success and my airtime ran out.

My own personal laundry has already piled up into a daunting mountain. Washing is not my fort at all; And the machine can’t seem to handle the simple task of washing thoroughly and sparkling clean. Maybe it is just me, but I prefer the stone-age mode of washing dirty linens- If I am not the one doing it. At least such crucial parts like stains in the collar, underarm, crouch, areas which the sensitive washing-machine shies away from, are better handled by competent human hands.

I was very glad when we had contracted Iya Sheyi in February to come in every Saturday to do the heavy Duty laundry that the alien contraption of a machine couldn’t or wouldn’t handle. She’ll be the second for this year, and the eight in 15 months, of the washer women we’d engaged. Little Juniour, alias Ben 10, was still taking me on a guide-tour of the machine when NEPA struck. He had only just showed me how to plug it into the socket (that was a cinch) but the rest of the lecture was so rapid-fired that I had to interrupt the little genius and take him back to module 1, again and again, and again.

“hold the plug like this, chook it into this socket…nooo! You are turning it upside-down, hold it like this, chook it in… Ok… no…! Ok, pwess this swish; that red light shows that there is light. oya pwess “ON” nooo! “ON”! I Mean “OOON” it is at the top… Oh no, no, no! This is the “ON” button… nooo! not here, on top of the washing mashin… Good! Now this is where you pour your OMO… Yakety, yakety (rapidly-firing) yak.

When I lost track and asked to go back to the top and start all over again the little Einstein obliged me with a straight face, but the red light failed to show that last time. Though he did first, but we both realised that NEPA, having been “thus far” magnanimous, had cut the power. The relief that showed on my little tutor’s face was a clear indication that he had been really suffering in the bid to cure my mechanical naivete. I felt sorry for him. He had been born into an age where machines does everything for you, even wipe you arse for you. In my growing up days we were taught to do things ourselves with help from machines and gadgetry on the minimal.

Who needed the blasted machine anyhow? Hand washing was more ideal for my dirty things because I have recycled those clothes like twice each, in the least. So I resorted to digging-in into the mountain of dirty clothes. A man has got to take charge of his life and not leave too much to fate or machines.

The lines are occupied by dripping children’s clothes. The Sun that had glared so brilliantly this morning, now chooses to hide her face behind a veil of foreboding, dark clouds. My prayer, even has I have struggled with, and conquered the task of washing the essential garments I’ll be needing for tomorrow’s Easter Sunday Service, and the rest of the week, is that the rains may not come down now. Lord Please!


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